UoB medical students are no longer receiving formal training at Queen Elizabeth Hospital due to coronavirus

They are working in an ‘apprenticeship’ style

The University of Birmingham’s medical students are no longer on formal placements at Queen Elizabeth Hospital due to the disruption caused by the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.

Instead, students are being asked to work in an apprenticeship style as opposed to formal students. Medical students will not be paid for their apprenticeship work. Students are to be embedded in wards with the hope their consultants will be able to teach whilst they work.

Although there is opportunity for students to have assessments during this time, it is not guaranteed.

The University of Birmingham Medical School.

Students are being encouraged to spend time on the wards with the hope this will increase the probability of assessments, they have been told it is likely staff will be more willing if they have spent time with you as a student. Students have been told they must ensure they balance their time between apprenticing on the ward and their ongoing academic commitments.

For medical students in earlier years, in person placements have been paused.

“In the first two years of medicine at UoB we attended a GP placement every fortnight. Unfortunately, due to the current pandemic these placements are now virtual. The majority of us were able to attend one day in person before the placements were moved completely online.” Sarah*, a second-year medical student at the university told The Birmingham Tab.

Sophie*, a fourth-year medical student who worked in a London Hospital during the first wave of the pandemic, detailed her experience working in a Covid positive ward and the effect it had on her mental health.

She highlighted how rapidly information would change: “from being told students wouldn’t be expected to work on COVID positive wards, I was working nightshifts on Covid intensive care within a week.” Furthermore, she explained that the wards “resembled the kind of semi organised chaos one might associate with a circus.” She added that as a medical student she was not naïve to death but “this was the most real interaction I had encountered.”

*Some names have been changed for the privacy of the individuals.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

•‘It’s heartbreaking’: UoB students on their departments’ responses to the lockdown

•Tips for UoB students to stay on top of university during hard times

•Here are all the UoB committees helping students with rent strikes